ANY IDEAS ON UPGRADING THE PATH AT THE END OF UPLAND ROAD?

On 5 September Richard was one of a group of officers and Councillors that inspected the short footpath that leads from Upland Road to Banstead Road South. Some residents have asked if the footpath could be upgraded, but the question is – exactly what could be done?

While we were there a team of contractors arrived and undertook the work we had requested to cut back the overgrowing vegetation along the side of the path and tidy it up. It looks better now.

The surface of the path is in reasonable condition for a footpath. There are two lamp standards and we hope to get the trees – which are in the gardens of private houses – that partly shade the lights trimmed back. The fencing along the path is mostly in good condition.

At present the path is a footpath and cyclists are expected to dismount. It would be possible to make it dual use. It is straight, so when entering the footpath at one end you can see if anyone is on the path for the whole length of the path. Assuming people are sensible and a cyclist who encountered a pedestrian on the path would proceed with caution, it would be possible to allow cyclists to use it. Officers are to take some measurements and assess the possibilities.

We would like to know your opinion on these possibilities, and how the path might be spruced up.

ARE THE BOUNDARIES OF OUR WARD RIGHT? YOU HAVE TILL 30 SEPTEMBER TO SUBMIT YOUR VIEWS

Are the boundaries of Sutton South Ward right?

The Boundary Commission is reviewing the boundaries of the local Government Wards in Sutton prior to the next local elections in 2022. This is your chance to write to the Commission if you do not think the boundaries are right.

The Ward runs from Sutton station in the north to Devonshire Road in the south, Banstead Road South in the east, Overton Road in the west. It is mostly a Ward of residential roads with three schools, one small park, three places of worship, split into three parts by Langley Park Road and Brighton Road running north-south. Should the boundaries change?

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their help to draw up a new pattern of council wards for Sutton Council.

The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across the council.

The Commission has also announced that Sutton should have 54 councillors in future: no change from the current arrangements.

In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Sutton.

Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Sutton. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters. 

“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you. And if you think a road, river or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of Sutton, then this consultation is for you. 

“If you’re interested in the way the council is run, just log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say. We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review, whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole of Sutton or just a small part of the borough.

“Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations in January 2020”.

Local people have until 30 September 2019 to submit their views in this consultation. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found at

consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk

GO SUTTON BUS AREA EXTENDED

The Go Sutton bus trial is attracting a lot of attention. Information is at www.gosutton.co.uk.

The year-long trial for this on-demand bus service has had positive feedback and is being extended to cover the area shown on the map. Register online and phone when you want to use the bus. It is £3.50 (plus additional passengers at £2) but free if you have a Freedom Pass, like Richard.

KEEPING THE FOOTWAY ACCESSIBLE

This is an interesting tale. In 2018 a survey of all the several thousand street trees in Sutton South Ward was conducted. The many street trees are one of the attractive aspects of our area. A few were found to be diseased and had to be felled. Thanks to Richard and Trish funding has been found to replace, in due course, these trees. One was in The Ridgway. This is a photo of the site of the tree last May when it had just been felled.

By August so much basal growth had developed that the footpath was being blocked.

Trish and Richard had no option but to arrange for the Council to remove the growth. The tree will be replaced, but at the best time to plant a new tree.

IMPROVING TRANSPORT AND PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

Trish on the e-bike

At the last local elections one of our main manifesto promises was to deliver an e-bike scheme in Sutton.

We are pleased that we are partnering with Lime to launch a 12 months trial for a dockless e-bike scheme.

This scheme is different from the Santander bikes in central London.

You can only hire the bikes using a smartphone and via an app.

The bikes are electric which means that they give you a little boost when you start to pedal and when you go uphill. This normally helps less confident cyclists.

The bikes are not docked but they are left in dedicated zones that are agreed between Lime and the Council. Once a resident decides to drop a bike after their ride Lime will be alerted at the nearest bike station. If any bikes are misplaced Lime will relocate them to a relevant zone within 2 hours. We are in the process of identifying suitable locations to have e-bike zones in each Ward. This means that Lime will ensure that there are bikes at these locations throughout the day.

The new on-demand bus service for Sutton is proving very popular. Find out more at www.gosutton.co.uk



“SUTTON SOUTH IS A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE” RICHARD TELLS THE COUNCIL

At the July Council meeting Richard spoke to Councillors about what residents told him were the attractions of Sutton South. In a debate on the special character of Sutton he said the green, pleasant atmosphere of the Ward was carefully nutured by Sutton Council but threatened by the decisions of the remote Planning Inspectorate, unaccountable to local people. Here is the text of his speech:

“In my Ward, the planning polices of the Council have undoubtedly been highly successful in preserving the pleasant, green, suburban feel of the Ward. Residents I talk to who have moved to Sutton South from other parts of London often comment on the attractions of the area – low crime, good schools, a pleasant, green, suburban atmosphere, close to the country, close to central London. There has of course been new development over the years but the quality of what has been built has generally been of a high standard.

“A pleasant, green, suburban feel in our Ward”

But I could take you on a tour of the Ward to look at developments that I am less happy with, one of them (Northumberland House) a development that exploited the Government’s “prior approval” arrangements to avoid planning controls, but al the others developments turned down by Sutton Council but then approved on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate. Some of these have been highly regrettable decisions, particularly in terms of design and overdevelopment of sometimes very small sites.

Before I became a Councillor I used to think there was a case for a body like the Planning Inspectorate as, surely, there were all these Councils up and down the country taking idiosyncratic decisions based on wildly varying local circumstances and this central body would impose some consistency of standard. What I in fact observe though is the complete opposite – it is the Inspectors whose decisions seem arbitrary, idiosyncratic, mercurial and lacking consistency, while the Council is imposing a consistent standard at a level based on extensive consultation to establish what is expected by local people.

I think our planners are doing a good job, but there is a case for wider reform of the planning system at a national level to protect the democracy of local decision-taking.”  

CONCERN OVER PLANNING APPLICATION IN COPSE HILL

Dunsfold Court in Blackbush Close is opposite the site and residents already say it is difficult to find a parking space

Richard and Trish have major concerns about a planning application
DM2019/00925 for a site that includes numbers 2 and 4 Copse Hill plus an adjacent block at 52-54 Brighton Road. The application proposes over-intensive development of the site, to erect a block of flats with 65 flats. We consider this overdevelopment of the site, incongruous in the local context and likely to cause unacceptable problems relating to parking in the area, with an inadequate number of parking places proposed for 65 flats in an area that already has a shortage of parking spaces.

The process with this application is that planning officers will consider it and may reject it on the basis of local planning policies. If not, we have arranged for it to be considered by Councillors at Planning Committee. This will give us opportunity, as Councillors, to voice our opposition and will also give representatives of residents an opportunity to speak. If the application is rejected by Sutton Council the developer has a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and we cannot control that part of the process.


The site of the proposed block, viewed from Brighton Road

GRAFFITI REMOVED

The Council is generally quick to remove graffiti and fly tipping. When Richard reported this graffiti in Cedar Road at the foot of Northumberland House it was removed in a few days. Graffiti and fly tipping are a scourge. Report to us any instances you see.

THE COUNCIL’S CONSULTATION ON PARKING

WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR

The Council decided that, as parking is often raised as a problem in the regular surveys of the views of residents on what they like about living in Sutton, it would ask all Sutton residents if parking was a problem in their road and what they would like done. The first round of consultation led to the traffic engineers proposing a parking control scheme in just three roads in this area – Chalgrove Road, The Ridgway and Mayfield Road. As there seemed to be no appetite for the full CPZ with machines, as in Langley Park Road, what was proposed was yellow lines operable for one hour a day to remove commuters and “long stay” parkers. There would also need to be bays where people could park at any time, to cater for those residents who have insufficient drive space and need to park a car on the street all day during the day. This is the scheme in Hillcroome Road.

These proposals were not given sufficient support by residents for the Council to have a mandate to proceed with them. Majority opinion in Chalgrove Road was against and, with about a third of residents responding, there was a roughly equal split of opinion in The Ridgway and in Mayfield, small majorities for in Mayfield and against in The Ridgway. The Council would only want to proceed with such a scheme if there was clear and strong resident support. Paradoxically, residents in Upland Road were keen to be included in any parking scheme for The Ridgway and Mayfield.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW

Responses to consultation suggested that a major problem with the proposals was the free bays, which were seen as a magnet for commuters and long stay parkers, squeezing out residents. The alternative to schemes that all have this disadvantage is a residents-only Permit Parking Area.

The way this works is that only residents can park their vehicles in the road for a “control period”, usually one or two hours each day on weekdays, thus removing commuters and long stay parkers. However, residents would need to obtain and display a parking permit on any vehicle they want to park in the road during the “control period”, and obtain “visitors’ permits” for their visitors. As this scheme will involve the costs of administration and enforcement, and it is only fair that these are borne by those who benefit from the scheme, there is a cost for a permit. The charges would be designed just to cover costs and policy is that they will not increase in the future by more than the index of prices. The cost of a first permit in the current CPZ area is £40 which contrasts with £90 in both Kingston and Merton, £99 in Richmond, £80 in Croydon. Studies consistently show that Sutton is one of the cheapest places in London to Park.

The Council will consult residents on this proposal. Some residents will not see this as a price worth paying to remove non-resident parking and will not support the scheme. That is understandable – we are not making any recommendation but just want to see if residents would or would not support such a parking control scheme.

In Sutton South Ward, the Council will consult residents in Chalgrove Road, The Ridgway, Mayfield Road, Farm Road, Upland Road, Kayemoor Road, Farm Close, Willis Avenue and Prior Avenue, in September, on whether residents want this scheme in their road. The proposed Permit Parking Area also extends into Belmont Ward, to Egmont Road.

For Willis Avenue, Prior Avenue, Kayemoor Road, Downside Road and Farm Close – the results of earlier consultation did not suggest a strong push for parking controls in these road, but residents are still being asked their view on whether they would now favour your road being included in any Permit Parking Area. There was a lower rate of response from these roads, perhaps because the Stage 1 proposals for parking controls in The Ridgway and Mayfield Road were thought to have limited implications. The displacement of parking, particularly if the Permit Parking Area extends to Upland Road, and the fact that numbers of vehicles parked is continuing to gradually increase, could have an impact in the medium to long term, also noting current housing developments in central Sutton. So the Council is again taking the views of residents of these roads.

We are not making any recommendation – as local Councillors we simply want to do what a majority of our residents want. We hope residents will respond to the consultation, in September, so we have a full picture.

There is an event to explain the proposals at Sutton library on 27 June.